Blog Post

Learning, growing, staying active

Learning, growing, staying active
Together, we feed healthier futures

In America, the weight loss industry tops $60 billion annually.

We watch hit TV shows featuring dieting as a competition.

Millions of us try out packaged foods, meal kits, and perfectly balanced dinner-in-a-box meal delivery services.

Most of us have some experience – successful or not – in trying to lose weight, manage weight, or simply eat smarter for health and energy.

This battle starts early.

According to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, formed by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, one in three kids is overweight. This increases their risk of developing diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.

The opportunity to give children the advantage of healthy eating habits is a powerful inspiration for me. Here are just five important ways Richmond County schools encourage our students to make choices that promote wellbeing:

  • We serve quick, convenient, but well-balanced breakfasts.
  • We turn fresh produce into tasty, easy “grab and go” choices.
  • We choose lean cuts of whole muscle meats.
  • We offer low-fat and nonfat dairy products.
  • We promote water over sweetened drinks. (Liquid calories add up fast.)

Outside of the kitchen, we work with vendors to find the most nutrient-dense, least processed options. Our team works with industry consultants and participates in national organizations such as the School Nutritional Association, where we learn about best practices from around the country that we can apply to our program.

We also work to reach out to parents to strengthen our partnership. Communication is a key ingredient to our success, so we’ve added a new tool we can share with your family. We feed students and families information with help from a software/display program called MealViewer.

Download the app from the App Store or Google Play.

Using this free app on your computer, smartphone, or Apple Watch, you can check out our menu for the month. The app also delivers food images and descriptions with nutritional information, including allergen alerts. We are introducing a digital display of menu items (with nutritional icons) in our high schools.

Seeing a digital display of nutritional information helps boost awareness of the basic nutritional value of each choice, making eating more mindful. Students who want to explore more can use the MealViewer nutrition calculator on their smartphones. Using the MealViewer nutrition calculator, they can simply click on a food, select a portion size, then the calculator instantly delivers a comprehensive report that includes:

  • Total calories
  • Fat
  • Carbs
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Protein
  • Sugars
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin A

As parents, I promise you that our schools are committed to being healthy places where kids build skills that will serve them across a lifetime. One of their most advantageous skill sets is knowing how to fuel personal energy, focus, stable moods, and overall success.

I want to start a broader conversation on how we can work together for our kids. Our team will continue to share information and updates via email, Twitter, and this site. We invite you to download the MealViewer app. Come share a meal with us, and send me any questions or concerns too.

We’re in this fight together.

Kelly Schlein

Richmond County Nutrition Services

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